By Curtis Webb
By Curtis Webb
FRESNO, Calif. - Senior righthander Cody Kendall pitched seven strong innings and senior second baseman Patrick Hutcheson hit a walk-off two-run homer to clinch a 12-2 run-rule win for the Fresno State baseball team over Louisiana Tech on all-around great Friday night at Beiden Field.
The `Dogs tallied seven runs in the deciding seventh inning, denying visiting Louisiana Tech an opportunity to come to bat in the eighth.
Kendall, who was called upon after starter Tyler Linehan left the game due to a first inning injury and faced just one batter, pitched lights out from the get-go.
Kendall took his warm-up tosses and entered the contest with a runner on first and promptly induced a groundball double-play before ending the inning with a strikeout. It was smooth sailing from there as Kendall allowed four hits and two unearned runs, while striking out seven.
"That was beautiful," head coach Mike Batesole said of Kendall's performance. "Cody has had a lot of outstanding moments in the last four years, and that was one of them. Probably, only a senior could have handled the situation that he was in today."
With Fresno State trailing 2-0 in the bottom of the third, sophomore third baseman Jake Alvarez hit his first career home run to get the `Dogs on the scoreboard. Senior designated hitter Kenneth Wise singled through the left side to score sophomore outfielder Aaron Judge, tying the game in the fourth at 2-2.
Hutcheson's double to right-center in the fifth scored freshman infielder Chris Mariscal, which proved to be the go-ahead run.
Fresno State didn't stop there. The `Dogs scored two more runs in the sixth before the seven-run outburst to closeout the opening game of the series.
"Our guys weren't done," Batesole said. "They wanted to start Game 2 tonight. I love it when your back is against wall and you have to win; those are the fun games."
Along with two sacrifice bunts, the Bulldogs also had several other productive outs that wouldn't normally show-up in the box score. Mariscal had a deep flyout to center that allowed freshman Jordan Luplow to advance to third in the sixth. An inning later, Luplow grounded to second, advancing junior catcher Austin Wynns to third.
Fresno State will clinch a spot in the Western Athletic Conference tournament with one more win in the series. Game 2 of the series will begin at 6 p.m. on Saturday at Beiden Field.
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